The Inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in the Netherlands contains ICH of which the communities, groups or individuals involved have written a safeguarding plan. Those plans are reviewed by an independent review committee. Every three years an evaluation of the safeguarding takes place.


The process of oilseed crushing starts with raw materials such as flax seed, linseed or nuts, and with an oil mill set in motion. If the mill is powered by wind, the miller starts it up, if it is a water mill, the oil maker does it himself. This sets in motion two large round stones in the mill, the tilting stones, which roll over a metal platform. Under these, the oil miller grinds the chosen raw material until flour remains. This flour is heated to about 50 degrees on a heated plate and mixed around. The heat allows the oil to be released from the flour. The warm flour is then poured into bags placed between press mats and pressure is applied to these full bags using piles and wedges. Thus, oil emerges and can be collected. In the pressed bags, the residual product remains: the 'cakes'. These are either dried directly into animal feed, or they are pounded and pressed into flour again. Again, the final product is a cake.

Oilseed crushing in a water or windmill is a sustainable craft. The oil and by-products are produced in an almost energy-neutral way and no waste remains.

The oil can be used as a base for soap and paint. Innovative products derived from the oil include natuleum, an eco-friendly carboleum, and hardwood oil. Some mills filter the linseed oil in such a way that it is also suitable for human consumption.


Nowadays, there is a group of volunteer oil millers who work in the 19 still operational wind and water mills in the Netherlands,crushing oilseed. The volunteer oil millers ensure that the craft is maintained and passed on to a new generation. When oilseed is being crushed, the public is

welcome. They can get a guided tour while a volunteer explains the process of oilseed crushing.

Each oil mill has its own in-house training, which is fairly easy to follow. The volunteer

oil millers appreciate the craft partly because it takes place in a monument - a

historic mill in motion - and because the process takes you from raw material to product in one afternoon: at the end of a shift, there is oil and/or linseed oil cake/lin flour.

The submission was done by committed volunteers fromĀ  oil and corn mill Woldzigt,

Noordmolen Twickel and Oliemolen Eerbeeke.


The craft of oilseed crushing has existed for a long time already. The first guild for millers and oil millers was founded before 1629. At the time, oil mills were industrial mills; in nearly 1,000 oil mills, oil millers processed 100 to 200 tonnes of seeds annually. During the season, people worked day and night in shifts of sometimes up to 16 hours. They crushed and pressed flaxseeds, linseeds, canola seeds, rapeseeds and hempseeds as well as beechnuts and walnuts, among others.

From 1850, oil production in factories started, where steam machines drove hydraulic presses. Thus, the craft disappeared almost completely. Thanks to individuals, social organisations and governments, oil mills as well as knowledge and skills of the craft have been preserved.

Today, the craft is practised in the same way as in the past, by enthusiastic volunteers. However, there is more attention now for safety requirements and hearing protection, as oil millers used to be 'noise deaf' quite often. The oil millers carefully carry out their craft and are well attuned to each other to ensure the right quality and prevent accidents.


  • In order to maintain a healthy financial position, look for other sources of income: entrance tickets, souvenir sales, offering refreshments, wedding location rentals, meeting packages, etc.
  • In consultation with Vereniging De Hollandsche Molen to draw up a PR plan for the craft together
  • In consultation with Vereniging De Hollandsche Molen to jointly develop a teaching package for wind and water mills in which the craft of oilseed crushing is explained to children
  • Collect and store important documents and archive records in one central archive and/or digitise them and make them accessible
  • Revive the Guild of Oil Millers by registering it with the Chamber of Commerce.
  • Develop a website for the Oil Millers' Guild
  • Together with mill owners, investigate whether mills can be made (more) accessible for people with physical disabilities

Create an audio guide for non-native speakers (no English and German)